I ask the permission of dear readers to write about what may seem thoughts or issues bothering me in the 65 anniversary of the revolution that deeply affected my conscience among millions others… I start by saying that there is a difference between the July 23rd revolution and Gamal Abdel-Nasser… and between them both and Nasserism… and between the three of them and Nasserists.
In reading and understanding history, one should not mix between phenomena since each one has its own exclusive features in origin and course… however, that does not negate the interference and relations of mutual effect between them one another, the thing that requires high accuracy from the political analyzer or historian while he is using his scientific tools to detangle this from that.
I say this because I think it is now time for objective scientific analysis that puts the record straight and attributes every action to its doer, every mistake to the one who made it, and every crime to the one who committed it… and also accredits the one who made an achievement based on a good idea, proper application, and unbiased follow-up… as the July 23rd revolution was not a package to be taken as a whole… and Nasser the young man is different to Nasser the fresh graduate officer… to Nasser the lieutenant colonel… to Nasser with the political ideology who worked in a secret revolutionary group… to Nasser the president and leader who enjoyed undeniable popularity that even his fiercest rivals and strongest enemies cannot argue about.
Moreover, the social theory – according to what Sa’ad ed-Din Ibrahim said – whose ideological and systematic sides came to exist and held the name Nasserism came after Nasser… and those who believed in it and played a national role under its slogan became distributed – I will not say divided – among parties, organized entities, and groups… and disagreement between some of them reached to the extent that some of those some allowed themselves to cooperate with muslim brotherhood, make alliances with them in the parliamentary elections, and take photos together with their mouths wide with laughter and faces brightening with satisfaction.
And so, a serious analyzer finds himself facing different phenomena which confirm that generalization is not right and mixing between things is unacceptable.
It happened that I was close to some of those who had connections with the July revolution and were of the Free Officers Movement… and others who worked as officials under the presidency of leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser and not all of them were of the Free Officers… and to be one of those who believed in and raised the slogan of Nasserism and worked to entrench it in the political arena and establish it as a theoretical structure… I also worked with many others of different generations, categories, and cultures to set up a party adopting the Nasserism ideology.
The first public attempt was the Nasserist Socialist Platform whose program I wrote and was submitted to the “Committee of the Future of Political Work” formed by Sadat in 1976 and headed by Sayed Mari’e. I was one of the three who went to the meeting headed by Mostafa Khalil on behalf of Sayed Mari’e to discuss the program of the Nasserist Platform read before the committee by the late genuine patriotic figure Mr. Kamal ed-Din Mahmoud Refa’at known as Kamal Refa’at. My relation with him strengthened after he had left his work as an ambassador for Egypt in London and disagreed to Sadat.
I was close to the Free Officers; Kamal Refa’at, Amin Howeidi, Salah Sea’da, Helmi as-Saied, Ahmed Shoheib, Ahmed Hamroush, Khaled Mohie ed-Din, Abdel-Mohsen Abo Elnour… and was close to those who worked with president Nasser; gentlemen Ali Sabri, Sha’arawi Gomaa, Amin Howeidi, Mohammed Fayek, Diaa’ Dawoud, Mohammed Fawzi, Sa’ad Zayed, Helmi as-Saied, Hamed Mahmoud, Sami Sharaf…
I believe I have a lot to say as a personal opinion that can be criticized and discussed just like any oral history and any analysis of personality… as no one can confirm he is not inclined or unbiased… or even claim his opinion is true just like sacred scripts.
Regarding the time span from 1971 until our present time; meaning for 46 years, there were years when I missed no day without meeting and having discussions with Nasserists, Marxists, members of Tagammo’a party, Wafd party, al-‘Amal party, and others of Islamic orientations… meaning I have more than a lot to say.
I also met president Sadat… he was one of the Free Officers and worked with president Nasser… but because he made it to the presidency, I could not list his name among the ones mentioned above… that meeting with him was set by Mr. Heikal, may he rest in peace, in September 1973, and attended by Mr. Mamdouh Salem, Dr. Ahmed Kamal Abo el-Magd, and Dr. Ismail Ghanem; then-Ain Shams University president and later minister of education, may he rest in peace.
That meeting attended by a bunch of university student union leaders lasted for five hours and a half… I was the second speaker who talked long until president Sadat said: “enough so that your colleagues can have a chance to talk…” when my colleagues answered… “let him continue”… I continued until the president asked about my name then he looked to Mamdouh Salem and said: “Mamdouh… my son X… if he asked to see me at midnight, you bring him to me”… and it happened already that Mr. Mamdouh Salem brought me and put me in preventive custody for almost a year in 1977.
All those details encouraged me to confirm the necessity to distinguish between July 23rd revolution, Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Nasserism, and also Nasserists… as honestly when I used to deal, on the political or organizational levels, with some of those big names who worked with the legendary leader Nasser, I wondered with myself first then before others: how could the man accomplish what he accomplished and go through all those fights while officials with such composition were working with him?!
I also was close to another category who worked with President Nasser and who were not members of the Free Officers Movement or worked in the armed forces… but they were civil efficient figures like Dr. Aziz Dedki, Dr. Mostafa Khalil, Dr. Mohammed Helmi Mourad, Mr. Fathi Radwan, Mr. Mohammed Hassanien Heikal, in addition to many others who were close to the president and collaborated with him… most of them were prominent figures of Marxist Left and each one of those has his own narration and vision regarding July 23rd revolution, Nasser, Nasserism, and Nasserists.
Here, I can say that despite the different visions starting from the Free Officers who contributed to building the group, conducting the revolution, and working as officials in the regime of president Nasser… to officials of academic civil backgrounds… they all agreed on one key thing; belonging to the nation and believing in their message that asks for no reward or thanking… also, clarity of social and political visions was the base and foundation for what was achieved and which took a very long time to demolish by those who wanted to demolish it… and even some of this legacy were unable to be destroyed.
Now dear readers, you ask me… if the matter is that clear and needs no mixing between phenomena… and analysis needs accuracy to put each phenomenon in it proper course and discuss points of interference and mutual effect… then why do those who realize such thing not undertake such mission?
I answer: it is due to negligence and wasting time in replying to the nonsense that does not cease to attack July 23rd revolution and Nasser… and because of practices committed by some Nasserists that give excuse to such attack.
Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar
This article was published in Al Ahram newspaper on July 27, 2017.
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